An estimated 40 million children will be out trick-or-treating this Halloween. Following recommended safety guidelines will help keep all our children safe. Additional consideration should be given to ensure the safety of children with hearing loss. According to the American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) the prevalence of hearing loss in children has doubled over the last 30 years. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) states that three out of every 1,000 babies born in the United States have some degree of hearing loss in one or both ears.
As you are helping your ghosts and goblins get dressed up consider the following tips for making this Halloween safe and fun for my little friends with hearing loss.
1. Choose Comfortable Costumes that Fit Properly
Over-sized and draping fabric on costumes can lead to trips and falls. If your child wears hearing aids, take care when applying face paint, glitter, makeup and hairspray. The moisture can block the mics of hearing aids and cause the hearing aid to not function properly
Masks, hats, and scarves can obstruct vision and increase risk of falls and they can also dislodge hearing aids or block the hearing aid microphones reducing audibility. Limiting accessories on the head and face is recommended for children with hearing loss.
2. Be a Hearing Loss Hero and Verify Hearing Aids are Working Properly
If your child wears hearing aids, verify they are functioning properly before you leave home. Confirm the volume level is comfortable for your child and consider that noise levels can become uncomfortable and overwhelming in groups or parties. Make sure there is a plan and a way to adjust the volume to keep them comfortable.
3. Travel in Groups
For children under 13, Adult supervision is recommended. Children who can safely trick or treat without adult supervision should stay with a group of friends and create a plan for the route they will take and meeting points and times that everyone agrees to before they leave.
4. Wear Bright Colors and Use Lights
While out trick-or-treating, children should use the flashlight app on their phones, wear glow necklaces or apply reflective fabrics to costumes and treat bags to help increase visibility for pedestrians and drivers.
From all of us at Salient Sounds Audiology, we wish you a very Happy Halloween!